Monday, August 26, 2013

How Far Would You Go?

To get into the head of your characters and write realistically, how far would you go?

We all draw upon our former and current professions to write. We've also heard the adage, "Write what you know." However, sometimes we need details that we can't find on the web. We need to be in the moment. We need to touch, smell, see, hear--even fear--what our characters go through.

Luckily, my career path has involved a wide variety of industries and I'm glad. It helps keep my writing diverse and I rarely lack for ideas or inspiration. I've worked in education, healthcare, banking, hotel management and even at a movie theatre as a teen.

But let's say I want to write about something completely different like an over-the-road truck driver or a stripper. Just how far would I go? Here are some professions I'd like to try in the name of research: 

  • Waitress
  • Bartender
  • Starbucks barista
  • Police officer
  • Fireman/woman
  • Television reporter
  • Wedding planner (although I wrote about one anyway and thought up some great themed weddings if I say so myself!)
  • Amish farmer
  • Boutique employee
  • Bookstore employee
  • Scientist
  • Court reporter
  • Tarot card reader
  • Stripper (I'd watch--not participate!)
That's a pretty exhaustive list and would keep me busy writing novels for years. How about you? What professions would you add? Just how far would you go in the name of research?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Advantages of Joint Book Signings

Earlier this month, I participated in the first-ever Authors at Art Walk at the Park Central Library in downtown Springfield. The event was sponsored by Ozarks Romance Authors and was a rousing success.

I happily shared a table with Cecily White, YA/paranormal author of Prophecy Girl; Kaye Calkins, historical romance author of Deverell's Dilemma; and Jean Rosenow, inspirational and women's fiction author of Blessed Are The Pure In Heart. I signed my picture books: What Do You Want To Be? and The Missing Key.

Most authors have book signings on their own unless they're at a conference. As I visited with friends, customers and authors, several advantages of joint book signings occurred to me, namely:

  • By having a signing with authors who write other genres, you'll draw a bigger crowd.
  • Having the backing of a well-known writer's organization is immensely helpful and garners credibility. Thanks, ORA!
  • Customers are likely to buy more than one book from various authors.
  • You share in marketing the event which reaches a multitude of different audiences.
  • Your reach grows exponentially due to the shared marketing, especially via social media.
  • There are several photo opportunities.
  • There's someone to watch your table while you grab a coffee or go to the restroom.
  • You don't get lonely.
  • You are guaranteed some sales--authors always buy one another's books (or at least trade!)
Have you ever had a joint signing? Try it!